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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

398        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

boards with sharp pins in them for teasing it out; they re-invented
the simplest tool for spinning the wool—a pierced stone that draws
out the fibre as it is twirled round; and so experiment and dis-
covery went on till they understood the loom used at the present
day. All the while they were learning a considerable amount of
art and science and history. Art is implied in all good personal
work of a constructive kind. " Make the construction adequate,
make it full, free and flexible, give it a social motive, something
to tell, and you have a work of art." Science is required in " the
study of the fibres, of geographical features, the conditions under
which the raw materials are grown, the great centres of manufac-
ture and distribution, the physics involved in the machinery of
production." And again on the historical side, there is the
influence which the various inventions have had on humanity.
" You can concentrate the history of all mankind into the evolution
of flax, cotton and wool fibres into clothing." Now what has
been done in these cases can be done in some measure with the
materials and processes used in every occupation. By means of
them the child mind may find satisfaction for itself in achieve-
ment, and be led out freely at the same time in all directions.
They do uot merely furnish a motive for learning but they provide
a background for later studies as well. " The children get a good
deal of chemistry in connection with cooking, of number work
and geometrical principles in carpentry, and a good deal of
geography in connection with their theoretical work in weaving
and spinning. And history comes in with the origin and growth
of various inventions and their effects on social life and political
organ&ation."

It must not be inferred from what has been said about the
central place assigned to occupations in the school that the other
subjects were treated incidentally as ancillary to practical activities-
On the contrary, the work of the school proceeded on a definite
scheme which introduced all the great human interests in a
developing sequence in accordance with the stage of mental
advancement of the pupils. On psychological grounds, Dewey
divided elementary school life itfEoTErfce^eritsd^^^^
fromjourto^^

from ^eight iPutwelve, and the period of reflective attention from
twelve onwards. _ (a) The play period is characterized by direct-
ness of social and personal relations. The chile! is beginning to